Patron of Reading


This is my special Patron of Reading page for everyone at Cordwalles Junior School. I’m delighted to be your new Patron of Reading. I am really looking forward to getting to know you over the coming months and to finding out about what sort of books you enjoy reading. I hope I might also be able to make some recommendations too!

My first visit: Remember, remember the tenth of November

I paid my first visit to the school on 10 November and had a brilliant time meeting everyone and spreading a little bit of Black Powder fun.

Cordwalles Assembly 1

Pleased to meet you!

The first event was a school assembly where I got the chance to meet the whole school and tell everyone a little bit about myself and how I became a writer. One of the secrets I shared was that I struggled a bit with reading when I first went to school and had to have some extra help.

I also shared some of the favourite books I enjoyed reading when I was at junior school, including the fantastic Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken, Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden and The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively.

If you want to find out more about me, why not take a look here.

I also told everyone a bit more about how I came to write my first published book, Black Powder and how it was inspired by the most famous plot in British history: The Gunpowder Plot. There’s more about the Gunpowder Plot in the factsheets here.

Cordwalles Assembly 2

As spies are very important in Black Powder, we finished off with a fun exercise on how to build your own spy. The mission we set our spy was to try and kidnap a member of the Cordwalles Pupil Parliament and everyone then thought about what sort of disguise the spy might need to dress in and what sort of special skills and gadgets they might need to accomplish their mission.

The children also asked a whole heap of brilliant questions at the end.

Book champions

I had great fun meeting the members of Chestnut, Maple, Pine and Willow Class during some special workshops where I threw down the challenge for everyone to become the champion for their own favourite book.

Everyone did a great job to try and persuade their neighbours why they should try reading their chosen book before some children took on the extra challenge of trying to persuade the whole class. We then had a vote to see which book people wanted me to read the first chapter from.

Cordwalles Book Signing 1

Some of the books we read from during the sessions were: Ruby Redfort by Lauren Child, The Worst Thing About My Sister by Jacqueline Wilson, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher, Compton Valance: The Time Travelling Sandwich Bites Back by former Cordwalles Patron of Reading, Matt Brown, Gym Stars by Jane Lawes and Pax by Sara Pennypacker.

The children then had a go at writing a different beginning to their favourite books or the opening paragraph to their own stories.

Book Doctors

I also got the chance to meet with the Cordwalles Book Ambassadors in the amazing forest-themed school library, complete with its own toadstool tables and water feature.

Cordwalles Book Doctors 1

During these sessions, everyone took it in turns to tell me about the sort of books they liked reading and I then prescribed them a new book I thought they might enjoy. In my role as a Book Doctor, I am very keen to try and get people to read books they might not have thought about before – and to try different authors too – so they don’t fall ill from the dreaded disease of ‘Same-itis’.

The Book Ambassadors should now be hard at work prescribing books to everyone back in their classes. I am already looking forward to hearing how that’s been going on my next visit for World Book Week in March next year!

Coming soon!

I will be putting up extracts from some of the book openings we worked on during the Book Champions session …